This second principle covers a wide range of strategies that are often thought of as separate fields. What I love about permaculture is how holistic and integrated its outlook is... catching and storing energy is important no matter how you do it, and possible in one and many ways. The 'and' in that last sentence is the most important word; start with one step you can make, then keep adding others and soon you will be catching and storing lots of energy. This is such a big topic that I am only going to give you a small overview. Over the next several months, I will be elaborating further on many of the sub-topics that this principle includes. I hope you will be able to add other ways that YOU catch and store energy.
Solar Collectors are popping up on roofs everywhere, but solar ovens (this link covers a wide range of cooking options) and solar clothes driers (which are catching flak in some neighborhoods... incredible!) are also very valuable ways to catch the sun's energy and put it to use.
Solar energy is also stored in every body of water and every speck of soil as well as the food we eat and the other vegetation around us... that solar energy feeds us and the oil we are burning today is solar energy captured and stored millenia ago.
Those who have seen the giant wind farm on Altamont Pass in California may question the beauty of this arrangement, but wind energy is becoming increasingly important. It is now realistically possible to have much smaller wind turbines powering small neighborhoods, and delivering electricity through shorter transmission routes. Not that it is all that new... windmills have been used for centuries.
I will have to give water an in-depth treatment in the weeks to come... so much of what we do with water allows it to become more polluted as it passes through our lives. One of the biggest issues in the coming decades will be having enough clean water for all and another will be avoiding the desertification of more lands. Learning how to slow water as it moves across the land and sink it into our aquifers for use later is a very important water conservation tool.
Gardening in an appropriate manner, i.e., working with the soil rather than against it, allows more nutrients to be retained and transferred to the food crops that we grow. The nutrients are safely stored in the earth until they are needed.
"By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need" - Permaculture Principles.com
I know this is only a very brief overview of an important permaculture principle... please visit the above link for some photo examples, and return every Sunday to follow me on a deeper journey into ways we can apply this principle in daily life.